W8787 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Dec 9 1912
To: Calvin McQuesten Bracebridge Ontario
My dearest Calvin,
It seems a long time since I wrote, but I am sure Edna would tell you all the news. Last week I had to give reminiscences of the early days of our W.F.M.S for our own Aux. and St. Paul's, celebrating our 25th annual meeting. I had the old secretary's book beginning in 1876 and everyone seemed to think what I made of it most interesting.
To-day Janie James came in,1 she unexpectedly ran up on Saturday to see this great Palestine exhibition which has been in the Drill Shed for two weeks. The Howitts met her and kept her till to-day.2 She said the Exhibition was fine, but we had heard so very little praise of it from any one and the Drill Shed was so miserably cold we heard, that we gave up the idea of going particularly as we were very busy with Honeycomb3 and I never felt just able to go and stand about in the cold. It is going on to Vancouver and will be in Toronto in May. Janie is not looking very fit. She looks as if she had not been fed up.
Mrs. Fletcher took tea with us last week. She thinks the doctor very far gone, but I think he'll last a good while yet, which is not to be desired, for he requires so much waiting on and no one but Mrs. F. will do.4 I think you must have been feeling lonely when you had to go down to see the McKerachers5; it is a good thing you have them so near, for I am sure you must need some one outside the congregation to speak to.
You do not say anything about your health. I hope you are keeping free of cold and not feeling yourself getting too tired. We have been having windy cold weather for two days. I hope you have not suffered. I am anxious how you are going to stand driving in the cold after preaching. Has Dr. Parfitt's bill come yet?6 Be sure and let me know. Do not buy Dr. Jowetts' Yale lectures.7.
Mary is going to Toronto to-morrow, has at last given in to consult Dr. Graham [Chambers?] about her face.8 With much love.
Your affectionate mother
1 For the James family and Janie James, see W4436.
2 Janie James and Mr. F. E. Howitt were both missionaries, but with different denominations. He was an Anglican priest and an interdenominational lecturer, see W5199.
3 Miss Honeycomb was a seamstress, see W5709.
4 Rev. Dr. Fletcher died December 25, 1912. Mrs. Fletcher lived into her hundredth year.
5 For the McKerachers (sometimes spelled McKerracher), see W6509.
6 Dr. Parfitt was in charge of the sanatorium at Gravenhurst where Ruby had gone for treatment of tuberculosis. She was not cured and died in April 1911. In 1916 Mary blamed the doctors for Ruby's death: "Ruby in that horrid Ottawa had a succession of colds and grip and the doctors evidently did not look after [her]" (W6509 W6135, W9058, W6680).
7 Rev. J.H. Jowett wrote The Preacher His Life and Work: Yale Lectures (n.d). The book is in the Whitehern library, as well as seven other of his religious works dated from 1898 to 1922. He may have been related to Dr. Benjamin Jowett (1817-93) professor of Greek at Oxford who wrote on Plato and Aristotle, and also on the interpretation of scripture "notable for the freedom and freshness of its treatment, the orthodoxy of which was criticized" (OCEL 438).
8 It is not known what was the problem with Mary's face. It may have been a birthmark on the right side. All of her photographs show her from the left side.